Because He Lives

God sent His son, they called Him Jesus.

He came to love, heal, and forgive.

He lived and died to buy my pardon;

An empty grave is there to prove my Saviour lives.


Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,

And life is worth the living, just because He lives.
When I was five-and-a-half years old, our church hosted a production of a play about the life of Jesus; it was the first time that my little heart grasped the graphic reality of Passion Week. Before that, of course I had heard the Sunday School version of the Easter story. My parents had talked about Christ’s death on the cross, and I’d sung the hymns about it. But seeing that young man in a robe and sandals “healing the sick” and singing with the disciples, taking that jug of water and “turning it into wine,” breaking bread during his last Passover, and then walking down the center aisle between the pews… carrying a back-breaking heavy cross on his shoulders. Being whipped, bleeding as thorns pierced his head. Hearing the hammer strikes ring through our sanctuary as his hands and feet were nailed to that tree. And then those final words spoken – the room went black – and I cried harder than ever before in my life. When we went home after the play, I had a long talk with my parents, and my Daddy led me in a prayer to ask Jesus into my heart.

On Easter Sunday 1986, I was “buried with Christ in baptism – raised to walk in the newness of life.”

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives.
But greater still, the calm assurance:
This child can face uncertain days because HE lives.


Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,

And life is worth the living, just because He lives.

My mom loved the song “Because He Lives.” During our year(ish) living in Oklahoma, we were members of a church with a vibrant Deaf ministry, and Mom and I learned American Sign Language. Over the years, I’ve lost a lot of the ASL I used to know, but Mom continued to sign many of  her favorite hymns. She was almost on autopilot when those songs began – her hands started to fly even if she wasn’t singing aloud. When I close my eyes, I can picture sitting by her side during this song. Her voice was wobbly and warbly, hitting and missing the notes with abandon. But her hands were strong and sure, fluid and beautiful. She believed every word, and I think signing became a form of worship for her – she worshipped and praised God as she “sang” without voice.
And then one day, I’ll cross the river;
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain.
And then as death gives way to vict’ry,
I’ll see the lights of Glory and I’ll know He lives.


Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,

And life is worth the living, just because He lives.

Today is my 26th “birthday” in Christ. And Easter Sunday 2012 is my first holiday – holy day – without my Mom. I feel fragile and sad. I miss her, even though the last time we spent Easter together in person was years and years ago. I know that Easter is about hope… and even in the face of her diagnosis and in the face of death, Mom held her hope in Christ without wavering. Easter is about new life… and on January 11th, Mom walked into the lights of glory and into her new life in the presence of God. Easter is about the fullness of the Gospel. I am so thankful for that, and for the fact that the truth of the Gospel doesn’t change even when our lives seem to be made of nothing but changes. 
If you’ve never seen “Because He Lives” in ASL, this is a lovely example:

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MICHELLE NEBEL

I write uplifting women’s fiction woven with threads of faith, grace, and Southern hospitality. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!

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6 thoughts on “Because He Lives”

  1. New Prospect Baptist in Anderson, SC was the Easter musical (a young man named Bernard performed the role of Jesus) That is also the church where I had the privilege of baptizing you.We went back there after we had transferred to Fort Gordon, GA for your baptism. The deaf ministry was at Cache Road Baptist Church in Lawton, Oklahoma. Both churches had a vibrant witness of what it means to know and share Christ. Mom and I always felt right at home wherever the military took us over the years since we were always ready to get involved.And it’s all because He lives…

  2. I have “God bumps” reflecting on singing that song in the little country churches I grew up in. There’s just something about a slightly out of tune piano being played by a lady that learned by ear and sung without shame by a small gathering of half tone-deaf people. Music of the soul!

  3. Wow. Such a beautiful reflection of such blessed memories of your mom. And Michelle!!! I was baptized the same day as you were! April 20, 1986. Easter Sunday. How cool is that?? (I wrote the date in my Bible.) I was just thinking of it this Easter and remembering that Easter baptismal day. We are Baptism Birthday Twins!! heehee Yay for us.

  4. Thanks, Dad. I need to add the churches and towns to the front of my Bible because all the cities and bases and churches get scrambled in that kid-recollection part of my brain.

    Carla, you nailed it! “a lady that learned by ear and sung without shame….” Perfect phrasing. 🙂

    Andrea!! How did we not discover this sooner! Baptism Birthday Twins! That makes me very happy.

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Ephesians 2:8-9

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